AAP Says Arvind Kejriwal Home Video Exposes Swati Maliwal "Lie", She Snaps

Atishi's response came after the AAP and Swati Maliwal fought anew over a video leaked online earlier today, which showed the Rajya Sabha MP arguing with security guards.

Swati Maliwal is the former Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women (File).

New Delhi:

The Aam Aadmi Party and Swati Maliwal traded bitter barbs Friday evening as each pushed back against the other over the latter's claims - that she was "slapped seven times (and) kicked in the stomach" by Arvind Kejriwal's aide, Bibhav Kumar, while inside the Chief Minister's home.

AAP leader Atishi began the exchange with a sharp attack at a press conference, in which she accused Ms Maliwal of colluding with the Bharatiya Janata Party to discredit the AAP during the general election.

Ms Maliwal responded shortly afterwards on X (formerly Twitter), directing her anger at her alleged assaulter, Bibhav Kumar, and slamming him as a "goon" who had pressured the party into attacking her.

"This goon (seen as a reference to Mr Kumar) is threatening the party, 'If I get arrested I will reveal all secrets'. That is why he is roaming in Lucknow and everywhere seeking shelter..." Ms Maliwal tweeted.

"Today, under his pressure, the party gave in. To save a goon my character was questioned... no problem, I have been fighting alone for the women of the country, I will fight for myself too."

"Do character assassination... the truth will come when the time comes!"

Earlier, Atishi referred to a 52-second video of Monday's confrontation between Ms Maliwal and staffers at Mr Kejriwal's home - in which she is seen (briefly) and heard arguing with the guards, who repeatedly demand she leave the premises. The woman in the video - believed to be Ms Maliwal - refuses, threatens the guards with police action, and then dares them to physically throw her out.

Pointing to the video - which Ms Maliwal has said is being viewed out of context - the AAP leader claimed it exposed "plans" hatched by the BJP to target Mr Kejriwal - who was released on bail last week after his arrest in March on corruption charges - days before the Delhi Lok Sabha election.

Atishi claimed the BJP is in cahoots with Ms Maliwal, whom she labelled the "face and pawn of this conspiracy" - and that the "rattled" saffron party had been forced into this move because of the growing popularity of the Delhi Chief Minister and his status in the national political landscape.

"Ever since Arvind Kejriwal got bail the BJP has been rattled. Due to this, BJP hatched a conspiracy, under which Swati Maliwal was sent to Arvind Kejriwal's house on the morning of May 13. They intended to accuse the Chief Minister... but he was not there then, so he was saved," she said.

Add image caption here

Swati Maliwal filed a complaint with Delhi Police on Thursday evening.

"Swati Maliwal was the face and pawn of this conspiracy..." Atishi declared.

Referring to the video from Monday, Atishi said the 52-second clip underlined the false nature of Ms Maliwal allegations. "In her complaint to the police she said she was assaulted... (but) the video which shows her sitting comfortably and threatening officials... also seen threatening Bibhav Kumar."

READ | Amid Swati Maliwal Row, Video From Kejriwal's Home Is Viral

"Her clothes were not torn and there was no injury on her head..." Atishi declared, hitting back at Ms Maliwal's claim that she was slapped and kicked repeatedly, and suffered injuries.

In the growing back-and-forth between the two sides, Ms Maliwal has yet to respond.

On Thursday, in her first public comment on this row, Ms Maliwal called for action against those who allegedly attacked her, and wrote on X, "The last few days have been very difficult..."

READ | "What Happened To Me Was Very Bad": Swati Maliwal On Assault Row

"'Political Hitman' Vs 'Truth Of Swati Maliwal'"

Atishi's response came after the AAP and Ms Maliwal fought anew over a video leaked online today.

Ms Maliwal hit out at a "political hitman" - an epithet seen by many as referring to Bibhav Kumar - who released the clip to "save himself", while the AAP simply re-posted the video with the terse message, "The truth of Swati Maliwal."

READ | Kejriwal Office Staffer "Misbehaved" With Swati Maliwal: AAP Leader

The party has also dismissed reports Ms Maliwal had been summoned to a meeting by the Chief Minister; Atishi pointed out this evening that Mr Kejriwal was, in fact, not at home.

Atishi also confirmed that Mr Kumar - who faces charges that include assault and criminal intimidation - based on Ms Maliwal's statement Thursday - has filed a counter-complaint.

READ | Kejriwal's Aide Faces Assault Charge After Swati Maliwal Row

The entire controversy, which broke Monday, has also spun into a political row, with the BJP gleefully attacking the AAP and Mr Kejriwal ahead of voting for Delhi's seven Lok Sabha seats.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman led the BJP's charge this morning, calling Mr Kejriwal "shameless" for continuing to associate with Bibhav Kumar and demanded he apologise.

READ | Priyanka Gandhi's Guarded Reply On Swati Maliwal Row

The Congress, which is allied with the AAP for this election, has been more circumspect; senior leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is the only big name from the party to have spoken up, and she said that while would stand by any woman who claimed assault, this row is an internal matter of the AAP.

Mr Kejriwal, whose bail ends June 2, has faced renewed calls to resign, but has maintained radio silence on this topic, focusing, instead, on his party's campaign for the Lok Sabha election.

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